fighting spam and scams on the Internet
"419" Scam – Advance Fee / Fake Lottery Scam
The so-called "419" scam is a type of fraud dominated by criminals from Nigeria and other countries in Africa. Victims of the scam are promised a large amount of money, such as a lottery prize, inheritance, money sitting in some bank account, etc.
Victims never receive this non-existent fortune but are tricked into sending their money to the criminals, who remain anonymous. They hide their real identity and location by using fake names and fake postal addresses as well as communicating via anonymous free email accounts and mobile phones.
Keep in mind that scammers DO NOT use their real names when defrauding people.
The criminals either abuse names of real people or companies or invent names or addresses.
Any real people or companies mentioned below have NO CONNECTION to the scammers!
Read more about such scams here or in our 419 FAQ. Use the Scam-O-Matic to verify suspect emails.
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Some comments by the Scam-O-Matic about the following email:
- This email uses a separate reply address that is different from the sender address. Spammers use this to get replies even when the original spam sending accounts have been shut down. Also, sometimes the sender addresses are legitimate looking but fake and only the reply address is actually an email account controlled by the scammers.
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "hundred thousand united states dollars" (they want you to be blinded by the prospect of quick money, but the only money that ever changes hands in 419 scams is from you to the criminals)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "MS. MARIA RAMOS" <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 4 Mar 2023 13:40:38 +0200
Hello, my name is Maria Ramos. I am a businesswoman, banker, and corporate
executive. Kindly, you can research me to know more about me if you will. I
sincerely need your trust and assistance urgently because of my failing
health condition (Stage 4 Breast Cancer). I want to have a genuine working
relationship with you.
I require your help to help me carry out my last wish of distributing my
funds to various charitable organizations around you. I deposited the sum
of us $10.5M (Ten million, Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars)
with a finance/bank in South Africa where I now reside. I have worked hard
all my life and donated to many charitable organizations in my community
and neighboring countries. However, I want to help across international
borders as God directs me before I pass on.
Suffering from this form of cancer; my doctor informed me that I would not
be able to stay alive past the next few months. I have decided to donate
these funds to charitable organizations through you in your country. I
prayed about this and, I have confidence in my decision. I will compensate
you and your family for your efforts by 40% of the $10.5M if you can help
me fulfill my last wish. I would love to hear from you.
Ms. Maria Ramos.